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Welcome to the home page of Martin Perkins

Early Keyboard Performer, Director, Scholar

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Historical Performance Department

Martin is Head of Historical Performance at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

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Since the early 1990s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire has maintained a strong commitment to performance practice and Early Music through an innovative programme of cross-departmental activities. Students have the opportunity to study a period instrument or to have stylistic awareness lessons with specialist visiting tutors. For more details, including information on Historical Performance scholarships, click here.

Students take advantage of a well-equipped department, with a large number of medieval, renaissance, baroque and classical instruments available for use. Ensembles include Baroque Orchestra, Sackbuts & Cornetts, Renaissance Band, Chamber Choir and Oboe Band. Close collaborations with Birmingham Conservatoire's Organ and Recorder departments ensure a diverse range of music-making at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.


Royal Birmingham Conservatoire moved into its new purpose-built premises in September 2017.

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Musical & Amicable Society
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The Musical & Amicable Society was founded in 2003 by Martin Perkins and Kate Fawcett as a collective of professional period-instrument specialists, performing in combinations ranging from small ensembles to full orchestra. Their presiding ethos is one of chamber music – however large or small the formation – where each and every performer has a significant role to play. 

Individually, members of the Society maintain successful freelance careers with some of Europe’s most prestigious period-instrument ensembles.  Collectively, they delight in exploring Baroque and Classical repertoire, both familiar and forgotten, recreating the soundscape of an earlier era for a twenty-first century audience.


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Musical & Amicable Society

“To our Musical Club Here’s long Life and Prosperity May it flourish with us, and so on to posterity
May Concord and Harmony always abound 
And Divisions here only in our Music be found.
May the Catch and the Glass go about and about
And another succeed to the Bottle that’s out.”

Click here to visit the Musical & Amicable Society website.


I pursue a wide range of interests and undertake research privately as part of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Areas of research include:


Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Historical Instrument Collection

18th-century music-making

Research Blog 

Critical and Performing Editions, Early Music Backing Tracks, and Early Music Workouts

Cat on the Keys Music

Recent Publications 

The Weston Park Music Collection: Five Generations of Family Music-Making in Eighteenth-Century Staffordshire Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle, 2024
Music by Subscription: Composers and their Networks in the British Music-Publishing Trade, 1676–1820 Routledge, 2022
Dataset of Subscribers to Eighteenth-Century Music Publications in Britain and Ireland, 2022



Cat on the Keys Music

Cat on the Keys Music is a small publishing company producing scores and parts of music from the 16th to 19th centuries run by Martin Perkins. Critical editions, performers editions and arrangements for a variety of voices and instruments can be downloaded from the website here. New ventures for Cat on the Keys Music include a series of Early Music Backing Tracks: harpsichord and organ accompaniments to 16th, 17th and 18th century instrumental and vocal works; and Early Music Workouts: a series of pedagogical aids utilizing digital printed music and audio backing tracks.

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Feel free to get in touch, using the form below.

Thanks for sending me a message.

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